Updated: Apr 13, 2020

If we have not love we are nothing.

Psalm 50:

The conclusion of the Psalter is this extravagant summons to praise, which seeks to mobilize all creation with a spontaneous and unreserved act of adoration praise, gratitude and awe. There are no "bases" given; no reason needs to be given.

As a poem for the conclusion of the collection, this paslm is a good match for Psalm 1. We have suggested that Psalm 1 is a formal and intentional introduction to the Psalter. It asserts in a decisive way that life under torah is the precondition of all these psalms. In relation to that, Psalm 150 states that outcome of such a life under torah. Torah-keeping does arrive at obedience, yet obedience is not the goal of torah-keeping. Finally, such a life arrives at unencumbered praise. As Israel (and the world) is obedient to torah, it become free for praise, which is it proper vocation, destiny, and purpose. In this light the expectiaotn of the Old Testament is not finally OBEDIENCE, but ADORATION. The Psalter intends to lead and nurture people to such a freedom that finds it proper life in happy communion that knows no restraint of connection or propriety. That is the hope for Israel and for all creation.

Walter Brueggemann "The Message of the Psalms"

1Again, I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless. 2So I concluded that the dead are better off than the living. 3But most fortunate of all are those who are not yet born. For they have not seen all the evil that is done under the sun.

4Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.

5“Fools fold their idle hands,

leading them to ruin.”

6And yet,

“Better to have one handful with quietness

than two handfuls with hard work

and chasing the wind.”

The Advantages of Companionship

7I observed yet another example of something meaningless under the sun. 8This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, “Who am I working for? Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?” It is all so meaningless and depressing.

9Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

The Futility of Political Power

13It is better to be a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish king who refuses all advice. 14Such a youth could rise from poverty and succeed. He might even become king, though he has been in prison. 15But then everyone rushes to the side of yet another youtha who replaces him. 16Endless crowds stand around him,b but then another generation grows up and rejects him, too. So it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.

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